Update Part the First.

Free internet access at a backpackers is a wonderful thing, and full marks to the Green Monkey in Nelson where we’re currently staying. Lovely private double room, great host, and free cake every day – it’s like staying in a ski chalet (except that there’s no extremely dodgy free wine that only tastes bearable after six glasses). 

We’re having a very lazy afternoon after a hectic couple of days – perfect opportunity to hog the computer and update the blog before heading over the road to the local pub for more local beer and cider and some fud. They don’t serve any there, but they have an admirable arrangement with the quite classy take-away next door where you go in, order and pay for your fud, and they deliver it to you in the pub. Rocking goose.

More pics to come too – we’re lagging a bit behind on those, but just put it down to the time difference :).

Have to say my brain is getting slightly mushy these days so hopefully this is all in the right order, but this is the first instalment about the size of our trip so far (since the mad river canyoning day…).

We ended up staying in Arrowtown near Queenstown for about five days, weather just glorious and we had a lovely place to stay, so it was quite hard to tear ourselves away. We did make it to Milford Sound, which was as majestic, grand, dramatic etc as you would expect it to be, but I wasn’t expecting the drive up there to be so good too – temperate rainforests, giant parrots, endless waterfalls (as there had been a fair bit of rain at night), and switchback roads and a nasty steeply sloped tunnel that added a slight adrenaline rush too. We did a cruise for a couple of hours, and saw Fiordland crested penguins and a pod of juvenile bottlenose dolphins as well. Mezzin.

After leaving Arrowtown we headed through breathtaking scenery (it does that a lot here – makes falling asleep on car journeys impossible) to the west coast, and up to Franz Josef, where it proceeded to boot it down quite impressively for the first day we were there. Not to worry, the glacier wasn’t going anywhere (though it can move up to 5m a day in summer if it feels like it apparently), so we raided the local bookshop and holed up in a cafe for a few hours (Alex’s flat white addiction and my admiration of the NZ version of cheesy chilli nachos grows daily).

We did tackle the glacier on a half day walk the next day in the glorious sunshine , thoroughly pissing off the poor unfortunate gap yah backpackers staying in the same place as us who’d done the full day trek in the pouring rain the day before. I only laughed quietly and to myself I promise.

to be continued…